DHAKA: We obesrve with shock and surprise the opposition against Metro Rail project by a section of less iformed or motaived section of students and academia of Dhaka University (DU). The map of the proposed routes suggest a section of the Metro Rail will traverse through Dhaka University Campus.
The metro system will stretch from Uttara (north of Dhaka) to Bangladesh Bank at Motijheel. The metro route will feature stations at Pallabi, Chandrima Udyan, Bijoy Sarani, Shahbagh, Teacher-Student Center at DU, Bangla Academy, Curzon Hall, Topkhana and Bangladesh Bank.
Metro Rail project is in discussion over the last few years. The various preliminary works were being implemented and were widely discussed in the media. Extensive pre-feasibility and feasibility studies were conducted, risk analysis and impact management studies were carried out. Excepting a proposed route going through Old Dhaka Airport no other matter were discussed or debated earlier. Suddenly when the physical implementation works of the project is about to commence a section of the DU students and academia have started agitating. Those opposing the Metro Rail have the following issues:
• Metro Rail will destroy history and tradition of DU
• Serious noise pollution and vibration will create nuisance to academic environment
• Metro will impact upon environment
DU definitely has an enviable history and tradition. It once earned the name of “Oxford of Asia” for its quality education. It led historic language movement, liberation war and movements for restoring democracy. At the same time it is also a history that the mail railway line entering Dhaka city once used to pass through DU Campus. Many of the leading student leaders of 1960s are now kingpins of national politics. Did East Pakistan Rail network running beside DU campus cause impediments to academic environment at that time?
Commuters plying to and from DU campus every day from different parts of the city have to bear serious pains and agonies for intolerable grid locks. Metro Rail will definitely create comfort and ease in movement. It is not understood how metro Rail can impact upon history and tradition of the university. Rather, new generation will remember once Railway line used to pass beside the campus.
Being an international consultant now living in the best livable city Melbourne in Australia the writer can give examples of many leading universities of the world which are either located beside metro rail (surface, underground or Sky Rail) or very near to the stations. This writer now works in Caulfield campus of Monash University in Melbourne which is just beside the Caulfield Metro Rail station. Every morning while travelling to work place by metro Rail we have to pass through Glenferrie station of Swinburne University. Victoria University, RMIT, Melbourne University are not very far from central Flinders street station and Yara tram network.
In Western Europe, North America this writer has visited many universities where metro rail stations have been purposefully built close to university campus for comfortable commuting of students and academia. There is no doubt that Dhaka Metro, when implemented, will ease the anxieties and agonies to commuting from different places to DU campus.
Anyone who has travelled in modern Metro Rail will bear with us that metro creates minimum noise and vibration to worry about. It will be built only heavy foundation supports and will have well designed dampers to absorb noise. These matters have been extensively studied in the techno-economic feasibility studies and in recent time during the recent DAFT (Australia) assisted Monash University administered capacity development of Bangladesh Civil servants in Melbourne we have discussed extensively about it. We have no reasons to go with the concerns of students and teachers of DU.
We are sure once they are made aware they will also realize the inappropriateness of their unnecessary concerns. It was sad reading some weird remarks quoting some academia in Bangladesh media about noise and vibration impacts. There is no way research works in laboratory or libraries of DU to be affected from movement of Metro. Rather, ease of commuting to and from university will save energy, time and ensure better heath and hygiene.
Metro rail will run by electricity. Unlike fossil fuel coal or diesel using trains there will not be mentionable emission. It will have eye pleasing architecture and will not cause significant impacts on aesthetic views of DU Campus. As such there is no cause of concerns for environmental impacts. We hope during construction and operation enough safeguards will be ensured for this.
We find no reasons from technical, technological, economic and environmental point of view any reason to oppose the Metro Rail going through Dhaka University Campus. It is not fair or proper for informed community like DU students and teachers to dispute matters which can make them laughing stocks to world community. There is no science, no logic no smart thinking here.
Metro Rail project and all other milestone infrastructure development projects must be kept out of politics. These are planned for the long term economic sustainability of Bangladesh. People have every right to know about different aspects of the project at different phases of project administration. People will be confused if project management fails to clarify matters on time and take mass people on board about the situation and circumstances.
Dhaka Metro is one of the few milestone communication infrastructure development projects alongside Elevated Express Highway, Bus Rapid Transit, Fly Overs, and Underpass present government is endeavoring to implement to ease the unbearable grid locks of Dhaka Mega City.
These are for the people and of the people. We hope government will engage with various stake holders more intimately keeping all informed of possible and probable impacts and impacts management action plans so that ill motivated groups and misguided politicians cannot fool people. Metro Rail through DU campus will bring immense benefits to all including students, teachers and people in general.
BDST: 0917 HRS, JAN 12, 2016